A huge aircraft-sized asteroid is on its way towards Earth! Is the planet in any danger? Here’s what NASA has to say about the asteroid.
NASA’ Planetary Defense Coordination Office has red flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 QC7 which is expected to fly past Earth at an extremely close distance. According to NASA, the asteroid will pass Earth at a distance of just 4.6 million kilometers from Earth today, September 6.
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). If any celestial object is at risk of Earth impact, it red flags and issues the alert. The Asteroid 2022 QC7 has also been red flagged by NASA. Although the asteroid is not heading for impact with Earth, it was still classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object due to the close proximity with which it will pass by Earth. Asteroids which come closer than 8 million kilometers from Earth’s orbit are classified as potentially hazardous asteroids, according to NASA.
The Asteroid 2022 QC will fly past Earth today, September 6 at 07:09 am at a distance of just 4.6 million kilometers from Earth at a staggering speed of 32,724 kilometers per hour. Remarkably, after today, the asteroid will make its next closest approach to Earth on October 28, 2144!
Asteroid – the source of water on Earth?
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that until now, it was believed that water was already present on Earth from earliest times. However, a recent study has made an astonishing discovery that puts this very thought into doubt. The study has revealed that water may have originated on asteroids.
The study was conducted after collecting samples from an asteroid called Ryugu by the Japanese Hayabusa-2 space probe during a 6-year space mission. The probe gathered 5.4 grams of dust and rock samples from the asteroid which scientists used to gather information on the origin of life.
“Volatile and organic-rich C-type asteroids may have been one of the main sources of Earth’s water,” the scientists said in the published paper.
“The delivery of volatiles (that is, organics and water) to the Earth is still a subject of notable debate.” However, the presence of organic materials found in “in Ryugu particles, identified in this study, probably represent one important source of volatiles”.
The study said, “Ryugu particles are undoubtedly among the most uncontaminated Solar System materials available for laboratory study and ongoing investigations of these precious samples will certainly expand our understanding of early Solar System processes.”